Well armored and armed, mobile and roomy – the American military command got acquainted with the models of promising combat vehicles, one of which will eventually replace the veteran M2 Bradley. The options were offered by five companies at once. The winner will receive a lucrative contract for the supply of hundreds of infantry fighting vehicles to the army. About the features of the project – in the material RIA Novosti.
The program for the development of a promising BMP (Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, OMFV) started in 2018. The requirements of the Pentagon were extremely tough – most of the participants dropped out at the very beginning of the competition. Because of this, the project was canceled in January 2020. However, they soon restarted – by the end of July 2021, the US Army had selected five preliminary proposals from General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS), BAE Systems in cooperation with Israeli Elbit, Rheinmetall North America, Oshkosh Defense in partnership with South Korean Hanwha and a small company Point Blank Enterprise.
At the first stage, digital models were presented. By April 2023, the Pentagon will name three of them that will receive government funding. Working prototypes should be ready by the summer of 2025.
Until the middle of next year, prototypes will be driven at training ranges, comparing characteristics and combat capabilities. The winner will be determined by January 2027. The military will receive the first battalion set of new infantry fighting vehicles in the fall of 2028.
On research and development work (R&D) plans to spend $ 4.6 billion. The main requirements for a promising vehicle are survivability, mobility, and firepower. A crewless option is also provided.
BMP of the future
BAE Systems showed a model of the RV-301 laboratory vehicle – a modified tracked armored personnel carrier Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle. The BMP based on it will be significantly larger than the AMPV due to the reinforced armor and will receive a remotely controlled weapon station with a 30-mm rapid-fire cannon from the Israeli Elbit Systems. Electronic filling – with an open architecture, which increases the modernization potential. By the way, this is a prerequisite for all applicants.
Concern GDLS demonstrated the layout of the Griffin III. Weight – from 38 to 50 tons, capacity – six infantry in full combat gear. Armament – a two-man turret with a 50 mm gun. The Griffin is compatible with the Israeli Iron Fist active defense system. Know-how – installation for launching loitering ammunition Switchblade (“Switchblade”), capable of searching for targets in automatic mode. That is, armored vehicles will be able to strike at the enemy at great distances.
The North American division of the Rheinmetall concern offers a model based on the latest German BMP KF41 Lynx. Feature – modularity, as well as the division into a base vehicle and special equipment. This allows the vehicle to be equipped with a wide variety of combat modules. So far, there are two options – with 30- and 35-mm automatic cannons. And the pride of the designers is the AMAP-ADS active protection complex, which has shown the highest reliability and efficiency during tests.
Oshkosh Defense, together with Hanwha, presented a version based on the South Korean AS-21, which was intended for the Australian market. There is little information about the project. It is known that the engine power is 750 horsepower, the armament is an automatic cannon of 30 or 40 mm caliber, the landing force is up to eight infantrymen. Plus the crew – three people.
Finally, Point Blank Enterprises is partnering with Keshik Mobile Power Systems to develop “an innovative product with a modular and technological approach to open systems for energy, information and physical architectures.” There are no details. The project of two small and little-known companies is considered an outsider. Although Point Blank Enterprises has a significant advantage – almost half a century of experience in the production of high-quality armor. Considering that the security of the car is a priority, there is still a chance of success.
The issue of replacing the M2 Bradley in the US Army is long overdue. The machine has been in service for over 40 years – it has been repeatedly modernized and improved. The latest modification M2A3 / M3A3 is the crown of the American design school. All BMP subsystems are converted to “digital”.
In particular, the commander now has an independent sight with a second-generation thermal imager and electro-optical telesystems. In addition, the anti-splinter protection was strengthened, and a modern engine with a capacity of 600 horsepower was installed. Armament – 25mm cannon and anti-tank missiles in integrated launchers.
The Americans actively used the M2 Bradley in both Iraqi campaigns. The vehicles reliably covered the infantry with fire. However, the armor turned out to be insufficient – often BMPs were disabled by RPG-7 grenade launchers. In addition, they are highly vulnerable to anti-tank guided missile systems.
The OMFV project is the Pentagon’s third attempt to find a replacement for the M2 Bradley BMP. The Future Combat Systems program was closed in 2009, Ground Combat Vehicle in 2014.
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